She Wants Out!
Q: A year ago, I met someone who is on probation for six more years. The problem is that when we met, I knew of his situation but he didn't know I had a child. He still wants a relationship even when I tell him this isn't going to work. He isn't supposed to be around children, so we only see each other when the child is gone on weekends. As far as I'm concerned, there could never be a real relationship because of this problem. I want to call it quits, but every time I try and tell him that, he runs off and says he's going to end his life. I'm not a mean person, but this is a wrong relationship. I need help in just breaking it off clean and dry. -- Cathy, 54
Dr. Susan: It's always sad when someone threatens to kill themselves if you leave them. But, unfortunately, that's his problem and not yours. He's manipulating your emotions to get what he wants. And he can't have what he wants. If he's legally not allowed to be around children, and you have a child, then your instincts are totally correct that this is a dead-end relationship. Let's hope it doesn't really end with him dead, but your responsibility is to protect your child and your own sanity. What you don't need is his "permission" to end it. Stop "trying" to tell him. Gather your wits together and put your foot down and simply say, "I can't continue this relationship. You know the reasons and I'm not going to argue with you about it. It ends here and now." And then don't agree to see him, don't communicate with him, no texts, no phone calls. If you reinforce his bullying by giving in, even one more time, it will just take that much longer to free yourself from what is a truly unhealthy relationship.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.